Launch of charity fundraising event in Horsham

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A Horsham-based children’s charity has launched its latest fundraising challenge to help stop premature births.

Action Medical Research is encouraging people to raise a minimum of £60 by walking or running 60 miles over a 60-day period.

The fundraiser, named 60,000 reasons, will raise money for the charity’s born too soon campaign, which was introduced last year to raise £1million by 2020 for medical research into the issue.

The event’s coordinator Kat Rand said: “Every year in the UK, around 60,000 babies are born prematurely; tragically, more than 1,000 lose their lives due to premature birth. It’s too many. Far too many.

“Our 60,000 reasons challenge is suitable for people of all abilities and will raise money to fund research to help stop babies being born too soon.

“You can choose to cover a mile every day, or maybe do seven miles at the weekend. It’s entirely up to you.

“The aim is just to cover 60 miles by the end of the 60th day, however you choose to do it.”

Dr Darren Smith is researching whether viruses in breast milk help prevent premature babies developing illnesses, as part of the Born Too Soon campaign.

He said: “Despite huge advances in neonatal care, it is estimated that up to 4,000 premature babies in the UK will develop a serious bowel disease, necrotising enterocolitis, and/or sepsis after birth.

“Too many lose their lives from these dangerous complications and those who survive are often left with lifelong disabilities.

“Medical research is so important – to discover ways to help bring more babies to term safely and help those that are born early survive those dangerous months.”

The 60,000 reasons challenge will start officially on October 1, but you can sign up now for free at 60kreasons.action.org.uk